Friday, August 30, 2002

This morning I brought my daughter, my eldest child, for her first day of kindergarten. What a feeling! I have shed a few tears about this in the week leading up to it. But today, although I have a heavy feeling in my chest, I was happy walking home after leaving her. She was kicking me out! She's like, "Okay mummy, you can go now." And I'm like, "Hey! Your teacher wants us to stay for a minute, Jeez!" I brought her home for lunch, which was fun, and I'm glad I can continue to do that, not least because the lunch programme costs $200 (!). The school seems so great, though. Small and cozy and very caring. It reminded me so much of my elementary school, I felt happy being there.

I'm proud of her. If ever there was a child who was ready for school, it's U.. I've never met a more confident and secure person in my life. I don't know where she gets it from; for neuroses, I could give Woody Allen a run for his money.

Still, *sniff*.
Finally, a long weekend! I haven't had any vacation time, so this will definitely be a treat. Steve's doing ok, he hoped that the contract would last until the end of the year or until he could find something else, but no big deal. I'm sure that he won't be looking for long, and in the mean time, he has chores! Today, he's putting another couple coats of paint on those shelves so we can put them up in the bedroom this weekend. He didn't even sleep in this morning, I would have :-)
As for the weekend, we have two parties and an anniversary dinner planned. I would assume there will be lots of lounging about as well. What's everyone else doing this long weekend?

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Steve was told that his contract is over. They only gave him a week's compensation.....
Looks like we're back to one income for a while......
The Job Hunt continues...
Lennoxville is far away - especially when one is given bad directions. Thankfully I left with time to spare, because it took me close to an hour and a half to actually find Lennoxville once I got to Sherbrooke. Next time I'll check the online tourist pages for a map, rather than rely on a English teacher who lives there!
The interview went really well. This was my first interview by committee. I got a really good feeling about these people, and if they offer me the position I plan to accept, unless John Abbott comes through.
In the meantime, I'm at work at Softitler. My training is complete, and today I get my first episode of The Family Guy. Woohoo!

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Two unrelated things:
I can't believe that almost a year of matrimonial bliss has passed, time flies when you marry a great guy! This time last year I was taking time off from a job that I hated and having a marvelous time hanging out with Caroline.
I found some really big, ripe mangos yesterday, so I made mango sorbet last night (drool.....)

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

School's back, get the mace......
For parents, this is the week that they've been waiting for most of the summer. For me, it means that the little delinquents who go to the school next to my house are back, pardon my enthusiasm. They get dropped off by parents who are too rude to even pull their SUVs over to the side of the street and then congregate in little uniformed groups to smoke and spit and swear and yell in front of my house. Sometimes, they sit on my steps and throw their garbage on the front lawn. I hate the little bastards....
This ends my curmudgeon statement for the week.

Monday, August 26, 2002

Sleepy Monday
What a nice weekend of doing almost nothing. Friday I left the office at noon and wandered around Ikea. Note to self: never go to Ikea when the fall semester is approaching. The place was crawling with university kids and their parents shopping for first ever apartment furniture. I've also realised that Ikea is also teeming with angry couples. If you're a psych major and want to do some research on relationships and stress, walk around any of the departments. I heard couples arguing about everything, it was fairly amusing. I got a footstool, a new rug for the kitchen, and a few Swedish krimskrams. After Ikea, I went to the gym and then home and just in time to meet Elizabeth. I had a great time too babe!
Saturday and Sunday were mostly spent in complete stillness, for some reason I didn't feel like doing much. I helped Steve a bit with his massive reorg of our library, but that was about it until Sunday afternoon. Sunday afternoon I went to reno depot and bought mdf shelving for the bedroom and started painting them, I also put up a magazine rack in the bathroom. For some reason, I only got brackets for two of the shelves, was I out of it or just stupid? Today I am tired and fuzzy despite the weekend of little activity, must wake up and get my brain in gear!!!
A heavenly weekend
This weekend was a lovely break from routine. On my way back from interviewing L'Oréal's plant manager out in St-Laurent, I stopped off at Dina and Steve's to hang out and do some much-needed catching up. Then we went out for some fabulous Indian food that got my Mmmmm motor humming all night (ahhhhh.... so satisfying...). Thanks for the great conversation and food, guys!

Saturday, we dropped the kids off at the babysitter, then went cycling around Hudson. It's so beautiful and quiet! It makes me think of Lakeshore Road in Niagara (minus the vineyards, of course). We hit the flea market there and made a mental note to come back with the kids--they'll love it! Then we went on to Old Chambly to the Fourquet-Fourchette, a restaurant I'd been to with the CDS gang. It's owned by UniBroue and offers cuisine inspired by the flavours of New France. It was every bit as fun as when I went before... it's a great place to go with a gang and really whoop it up!

Now I feel recharged and ready to tackle my pile of writing! And a lot more patient with the under 3-foot crowd...

Sunday, August 25, 2002

Cab news
I rode to the South Shore for an interview on Friday, and got the cabbie into a discussion of the cab colour question. He claims that the plan is to go with black, in the style of London cabs.
Furthermore, the cabbie said that there's a lot more to it than the colour. I did read that the new legislation prohibits operating a cab that's more than ten years old, and that if you're buying a car to use as a cab, it can't be more than five years old. He says that within seven years, all the new measures will be implemented, including GPS computers in all cabs (the black ones) and a central dispatching computer that will automatically alert the cab closest to the fare. To top it all off, the cabbie says that the government will sponsor electric cabs! If all of this actually comes to pass, we're going to be one happening city!
He also said that he's hoping that introducing London-style cabs will mean adopting other UK policies, including a two-and-a-half year course required for a cab license. Currently, Montreal cab licenses are granted after completing a five-week course. So there you have it - if nothing else comes of that interview, at least we have the inside scoop on the cab business!

Friday, August 23, 2002

Had a huge problem with the new SGML system that we just started using and I stayed until 7:30 last night trying to fix it-no luck. I got here at 7:30 this morning and fixed it, but of course there are other problems with the set up. Ever want to shoot your boss just so he'd stop slamming his phone down on the cradle and sigh so loud it shakes the building? Oh, and coffee machines busted first thing this morning, help......

Thursday, August 22, 2002

Shopping at Les Ailes

I just got back from buying a knick-knack at Les Ailes and decided that the whole experience was completely irritating. First of all, finding the escalator that goes in the right direction is a challenge. (I know I already commented on that.) Second, are the gaping idiots who, when they get off the escalator stand right in front of you, not moving, (too busy trying to figure out how to find the next escalator). You have no choice but to walk right into them or shove them out of the way. Then, up on the housewares floor you have someone trying to get you to go into a karioke room. Why one earth do I want to hear myself sing in a department store when all I want to do is scream and get the hell out of there? The guy who was standing there looked like a sleezy goof-ball (very enticing and alluring). The whole thing has an air of being a pseudo IKEA atmosphere with a merry-go-round and a sushi bar. Tres weird in my vary narrow butt-clenched WASP view of the world. Then finally when I did get to where I wanted to go and find the merchandise that I had spotted on my last trip, there was a line up a mile long at the cash and someone is dickering over something. However, some employee did come along and show me to a less busy cash. Only I wind up waiting even longer because some woman is fussing about some towels and the availability of the store catalogue and why isn't she on the mailing list. I finally paid for my purchase using Interac, but of course the keyboard thingy was sticky and my PIN didn't work. All this effort was in the name of a very nice hand-painted glass bowl that I think will look wonderful on my kitchen table. Then the battle to navigate my way out began...I'll spare you the details, I think you already get the picture.

Somehow mail-order and shopping online is alot less annoying and I have been resorting to it alot more lately. So for you die-hard mall rats and shoppers and lovers of flea markets and garage sales I don't know how you do it, but you won't be seeing me pawing and drooling over merchandise if I can possibly help it. Maybe I should move to a lighthouse and have my sack of flour delivered once a year....
The chimney sweep came early this morning to ensure we don't set the building on fire this winter or roast a family of rodents. I'm always disappointed when Dick Van Dyke doesn't come bounding up the stairs with a "ello guv'nor".
A Poll of Our Own
The city of Montreal is considering a mandatory universal colour for our city's taxis. So I thought we should poll the audience - what colour would you impose?
What were they thinking?
The BBC apparently polled over 30,000 people in the UK to come up with a "Top 100 Brits" list. Some of those who made the list are obvious, like Diana and Churchill, and there are a few names that I would have nominated, such as Bell, Darwin, Austen and Nightingale.
Then there are the ones that make you go "huh?" First of all, John, Paul and George made the list, but not Ringo, and none of the Stones appear, nor does Clapton, but Bowie is there. Okay, there are only 100 spots, granted - but Boy George and Robbie Williams made the list! I tell ya, they'll let anyone vote these days.

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Brain hurts.....
I'm back to being stupid busy at work and I'm also experiencing constant confusion from reading all these marketing docs that tell me nothing, and engineering docs that tell me nothing that I can understand. Will our heroine find a happy medium, or merely slap together a frankenstein combination of other documents and add a nice graphic? Stay tuned folks......
Go Maggie, go Maggie, it's heartening to know that there may be a good teacher soon at the CEGEP level :-)
So work offers are starting to pour in (a grand total on one firm offer so far, not counting the insurance sales position). John Abbott is apparently looking for a few good English teachers, and Champlain has called. Phone tag is such a blast. And in other news...

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Back to the gym
I finally managed to get back to the gym yesterday. Actually, I went Friday too, but only did about half of my routine. By routine, I mean that piece of paper that a nice gym employee wrote up for me which I seldom follow. One of the things on my list that I avoid are the ab exercises. The ab machines are in a room in full view of all the treadmills, bikes, etc., I stare in there frequently and count how many leg ups a person can do before they collapse, and for that reason I do sit ups at home. The people at the gym already know that I am a complete klutz, so there's no sense advertising that my core muscles are made of jello too. Another machine that I tend to avoid unless I'm feeling guilty is the hamstring machine. To use this machine, you must lie down on your stomach on a slanted bench with your head slanted down and your butt in the air. The machine is near the entrance of the gym and pointing out into the main aisle, so every passer-by gets a look at your great big spandex ensnared bottom. What were they thinking?

Monday, August 19, 2002

Summer Monday
What a great weekend! Elizabeth came over Saturday afternoon for some George's souvlaki and conversation, good to see you Elizabeth, lookin' good! I also realised that the fan on my computer's power supply crapped out at some point. I'm not sure how long it had been broken, but I almost burned my hand on the top of the tower. Not good at all. I took it to a computer store Sunday morning and they sold me a power supply. They wanted to charge $25 to install it, so I did it myself, it wasn't hard. Tada! No more fear of overheating everything! Sunday, we went to the Atwater market for some goodies. We got coffee and olive bread, fresh apples and Steve got some cheese. We also picked up this onion and garlic jam, which Steve said is wonderful, I haven't had the courage to try it yet. We did a few more groceries and got home early in the afternoon. Jon came over for a few hours. He rollerbladed over, not a huge distance because of the bike path, but it was very hot and humid, so Jon was a puddle by the time he arrived. He hung out for a while and watched some tv and a movie. Later on, Rebecca came over and we watched Lord of the Rings on DVD. We had a couple of technical difficulties, the DVD was skipping during the scene where Bilbo gives Frodo his sword, etc. That was irritating, our first DVD problem. I will replace it today. I hope that we get a good one this time. I suppose it's to be expected considering how many copies of the DVD were made. The heatwave has broken and we're now back to beautiful summer days. I'm hard at work on two projects, one that just got bigger after a morning meeting. I think we're going to resort to stealing sections from other manuals, a little creative plagiarism never hurt anyone :-)

Friday, August 16, 2002

The man's name is John Hannah. McCallum was the role he played in a UK production of the same name (the Scottish Quincy series). Now I can sleep!
Tomatoes by the bucketful
August is my favourite time of the summer. Each year I come back from my holidays to an overgrown, tangled garden weighed down by scores of tomatoes in every size and shade of yellow, red and orange. Sliced, sauteed, stuffed, in salads, in pies, or just plain popped in your mouth, we have them every way imaginable until the crew simply can't bear to look at another tomato. I'm running out of ideas on how to serve them up as those cherry tomatoes keep on coming...

I just love going to a farmer's stand and getting fresh corn, cuc's, peppers, green beans, yellow zucchini and anything else I can find fresh in these few brief weeks of food heaven. Then the mealy, rubbery hydroponic veggies come slowly trickling back for the winter. So enjoy the feast while it lasts!
It's a conspiracy, I tell ya
So my pet peeve for the day is fitted sheets. Just when I have finally figured out how to fold fitted sheets so that they actually look folded, as opposed to looking like wads of cotton spat out by some large creature such as Jabba the Hut, they (the proverbial they) go and change the darned things! Instead of being fitted along the short end, sheets are now fitted along the long end - or worse yet, fitted all around! How the heck am I supposed to deal with this? I need more coffee.

Thursday, August 15, 2002

Don't fight the lentils
Had a great lunch with Bill and Maggie at the Indian place near work. It's a vegetarian restaurant, and their lunch special is rice, two types of yummy curried vegetables (they decide) and either chickpeas or lentils. Bill ordered with lentils, Maggie and I ordered chickpeas. The waiter brought us all lentils, but gave Maggie and I chickpeas on the side. We think that it's a plot to get more people to eat lentils, I admit, they were very good.
I woke up this morning with our non-cuddly cat sitting on me, meowing loudly and trying to stick her head under my hand. It took me a while to realise that I was awake, because she never does that. Perhaps she is having a change of personality. My oldest cat is a calico, and for the first 3 or 4 years, spurned any affection that you gave her. My friends used to joke that she had a "three-pet rule", because that was how much she would tolerate before she turned around and shredded your hand. One day, she just started acting differently, I guess that it was a bit more gradual than that, but she started wanting affection, and now she demands cuddling time from me and Steve. She definitely mellowed with age. Maybe Stan's doing the same thing. I hope that doesn't mean that our always loving cat Woody suddenly turns into a nasty curmudgeon.
Dave came over last night to pick up some software, and dropped off his new CD of stories called "Tales from a Comfy Chair", I look forward to listening to it. I'm besieged by more work this week, I've been moved onto the big project that's due mid-September. Haven't heard from a few of the Coffeeringers in a while, perhaps a post to let us know you're still alive (hint, hint)?

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

So, one month into my unemployment...

At least our floors are done! The dining room will be done on Friday, so I'm spending this week filling in the cracks in there. Can I just take a moment to bitch about the heat? Argh! It is too hot to be hunched over a floor with a tub of putty for more than, say, five minutes at a time. Blech.

I plan to spend several hours in my bedroom, getting intimate with the air conditioner. Perhaps, time permitting, I'll have a beer on the back porch, for Dina's sake.
Shopping anyone?
Les Ailes is the most stylish mall that I have seen since I visited Chicago. The entrance is surprisingly non-descript, I expected something breathtaking to set the mood for a unique shopping experience. At first I had a hard time believing that they managed to get so much space out of the building, it's amazing what can happen when you take four floors out of a building. Steve found it a bit claustrophobic, but I liked it, it certainly felt more intimate than your regular mall.
There is a mix of open concept and closed in areas with great, futuristic/deco lighting that is soft, yet not dim. At first, it's hard to get your bearings, because the main store is at the back of the building. There are escalators that go up through the centre of the building, as well as inside the main store. Sometimes, you're not sure where the main store ends and the rest of the mall begins. The true beauty of the design can be seen from the third floor.

Here, the floor plan suddenly becomes clear. The oval open 'roof' makes you feel like you're cocooned in the building. Oh, and did I mention that the roof lighting changes colour?

As Rebecca mentioned last week, the fourth floor holds a small art exhibit. I can't say that I was taken by anything up there, especially the three white canvases (you want *how* much for that?). I don't know if it's going to be a permanent exhibition area, there's not much room for anything else. The fifth to the eighth floor is supposed to be office space, I'd love to have a look at it, it's probably fantastic.
As for the store, I was surprised to find that there was merchandise that I could afford. There were tons of designer brands, but there was also there own label and their prices were comparable with the Bay and Simons. I didn't browse through everything, but they seemed to offer about as much merchandise as Simons, a bit more because they have a kitchen department. The one thing I did notice was all the sheep, which I assume were a big seller for the opening.

They also seem to have a nice kids department, but I didn't have a close look at the clothing because I was distracted by the merry-go-round.

If parents have a hard time with those quarter-operated, brightly painted monstrosities at malls and grocery stores, you can imagine what it's going to be like the first time you take them to Les Ailes. There's also a play area with a giant talking bear and some games.
Bathroom review, you must check out the bathrooms, especially the ladies inside the main store on the third floor and outside the coffee shop on the second floor. I was going to get pictures, but was not able to get in there alone, and didn't want to look like a total perv.
My husband is evil
Over the weekend, he heard the spongebob squarepants themesong for the first time, got it stuck in his head, and sang it over and over until I got it stuck in my head Sunday afternoon. He's just bad......

Monday, August 12, 2002

Separated at birth

Monday, already?
The weekend was a whirlwind of activity. Friday night, Steve and I went downtown and checked out the new Les Ailes. Nice store, review to follow. I also bought new sandals (on sale!). Saturday we went up to the townies again, this time for a short visit. My folks decided that they're going to Cape Breton for a couple of weeks, so I had to bring back their video camera and lend them my film camera. We got home, tired and just vegged for the rest of the evening. Sunday we got up and cleaned and visited Maggie and Andrew and went shopping for food because we invited Guislaine over for supper. Dave came over for a visit, which was nice because I don't see him all that often and then Guislaine showed up and we hung out and yakked and then talked Dave into staying and had a fabulous roast that Steve made. After we had blueberry/raspberry icecream that I made earlier in the day and coffee and sat out on the deck talking more until we kicked the guests out at 11:30. I am a little tired this morning, but we had such a nice evening.

Friday, August 09, 2002

Calendar says Friday!
The week has just whizzed by! Last night I stopped by Rebecca's place for a chat and to drop off my pledge for her run (there's still time to pledge people). I only see her kids once every six months or so, so they always look so different. The biggest change was that her son, who I've always thought was the strong, silent type, has suddenly found his gift of gab. He was talking up a storm yesterday! I promised that I would bring cookies for my fellow writers today. I ended up making cookies late last night and woke up this morning way more tired than I should have been. I think that the whirlwind week is catching up to me.
The good news is that the training material tested better than I thought it would and only needs minor changes as opposed to a major overhaul-yay!
After work I'm heading downtown to see Les Ailes, is it wrong to be so interested by a store? I suppose that it's not rampant consumerism if I'm more interested by the store itself than the goods being sold. Perhaps it's just because anything big and brand new in town is just such an oddity that you have to run out and see it before it goes bankrupt and closes. Speaking of which, we may head over to the AMC Forum for a movie afterwards.

Thursday, August 08, 2002

I've just come back from Les Ailes. It's a very nice mall, with a great feeling of space and light. The art deco influence is obvious, but not fantastic. What I love about Art Deco is what's in the details. The Art Deco lines are there at Les Ailes, but ultimately it's a mall, right? The organic elements of Art Deco are missing, as far as I could see, which leaves a sort of retro-futuristic impression, which is nice, and it feels good and all, but Cours Mont Royal is nicer in terms of the marriage of structural and interior design, in my opinion.

If you go, check out the contemporary art on the 4th floor. I'll be talking about it on the Arts Report at 5:20 today.

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Surrealist Compliment Generator
There's something in the air ducts at work today that has my nose running like crazy. I was fine until I walked in to the office and then wham! I'm heading outside for a walk that I hope will stop this nonsense.
Kathy has been watching Les Ailes all morning and will probably be wandering in to have a look. Kathy, we expect a full report. Is it as pretty as they said it would be?
Still working like mad on that project, have to finish today! What's everyone else up to? What do you think of this nice, cool weather?

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Tales of an errant blogger
I'm sorry that I am somewhat negligent with my posting lately, but I've had to work. The material that I am working on is going to be tested by my peers Thursday, no pressure there!
This weekend was a guilt weekend, aka visit the parents. The folks were happy to see us, a little too happy. I do not mind bringing joy to my folks, I just wish sometimes that I wasn't the only source of it. We had a lovely visit and a bbq and drove back home to famished, bored cats.
We have a deck off of our kitchen with a set of glass doors. When we first moved in, the screen on the door had a tiny hole in it from the previous tenant's cat. Over time, our bored cats expanded on that hole, and one day early this summer we came home and discovered the skinniest cat out basking on the deck. I said that I would repair the screen right away, but somehow never got around to it. Soon, the less skinny cat made her escape, followed soon after by our fat cat who transformed the hole into something I could get my head through, a fat cat flap, as it were. The weekend before last while the cats were all out basking, there was a loud noise outside which must have scared them, because they all ran into the house at warp speed. The fat cat must have missed the hole. I heard a 'thud rip' and ran into the kitchen to find that the screen was now completely torn out of the bottom of the door. I suppose that rescreening the entire door is probably easier than repairing little bits of it anyway....

Friday, August 02, 2002

I need a sponsor...stat!!

I am going to be running a wee (5K) marathon on Sunday, along with a bunch of other CBC folks, to raise money for Give Girls A Chance, a fund that gives money to Aboriginal and Afghani girls and women to go to school.

I have basically been in denial about this and haven't trained or anything, and only realized today that I'm supposed to get sponsors (duh).

So, Coffee Ringers, anyone want to sponsor my run/walk/stagger/fall? Whoever makes the biggest pledge wins my CBC marathon T-shirt, washed or not, however you prefer (weirdo).

Just answer in the commments and you will receive an e-mail detailing the next step ("put unmarked bills in a black briefcase, etc". type-o'-thing)

I loves ya gals, I really does.
My kingdom for a modifier
Just found out last night that the material I've been working so hard on is for "next" least I have most of it done. Oops! They added more! At least the days are flying by!
Is Les Ailes Ever Going to Open?
For those of you who may not know, there is going to be a new Les Ailes opening here right downtown. According to the signs that were posted on the building it is supposed to open next Wednesday, August 7. Frankly, I wouldn't place any bets on it making this deadline. There is still alot of construction going on and I don't see how they can do all the finishing (i.e. painting, plastering, etc.) and get the goods into the store by Wednesday. (My office faces the building and I have been monitoring the work off and on now for nearly 2 years.) The store if you don't know, is the former Eaton's building which has over the last two years been gutted and is still being refurbished from top to bottom. The good news is I am sure it is going to be gorgeous. I wonder if I'll be able to afford anything in there?

I'll keep you posted next week. So let's see if opening day will in fact be Wednesday. So we are now at T minus 5.

Thursday, August 01, 2002

11 months and he still hasn't strangled me
I love my husband.......
Gotta get back to work, everyone keep drinking and relaxing for me!